Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 18

Obadiah’s fear

1 Kings 18:8-12

Elijah had come with good news for Israel’s people and their government. For three years, they had struggled without rain. The harvests had failed and everyone had suffered much. Now God had sent Elijah, because God would permit the rain to fall again. So Elijah sent Obadiah to Ahab, to tell Ahab that, at last, he (Elijah) had come.

Obadiah was a very brave man but, still his reaction to Elijah’s instructions was great fear. Obadiah knew well how cruel Ahab was. He had seen how desperately Ahab had tried to find Elijah, but without success. So Obadiah did not want to tell Ahab that he had seen Elijah. If Ahab did not also meet Elijah, then Ahab would be extremely angry.

Obadiah was afraid of how powerfully God’s Holy Spirit directed Elijah’s life. It seemed to Obadiah that, in a moment of time, God could take Elijah far away. This actually happened at the end of Elijah’s life on earth (2 Kings 2:11-12). We do not know whether it happened to him on any previous occasion. However, Acts 8:39-40 describes how this happened to one of the first Christians, Philip.

In the lives of certain people, God works in a particularly astonishing manner. Obadiah was right that Elijah was one of those people. However, he was wrong about how God works in their lives. God does not take control of that person, so that the person is unable even to make his own decisions. Rather, God works with that person, as the person makes his life available to do God’s work.

Next part: Obadiah appeals for his life (1 Kings 18:13-14)


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